News & Events

Brent Laureate Writes and Films Poem on Neasden Temple
Tuesday 19 November 2013

Brent Poet Laureate Simon Mole recently unveiled his new poem for the borough. Inspired by BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir – popularly known as the Neasden Temple – the poem explores the contrast between this quiet reflective space and the hustle and bustle of busy city life. 

Simon explains: “Like a lot of Londoners sometimes I find it hard to switch off from the fast pace of the city. I know the temple is an important part of the lives of many Brent residents, offering them the chance to step back and reflect – despite living in the borough for five years I had never visited before, and this seemed like the perfect chance; the temple is a genuinely awe-inspiring place!” 

The piece is the second poem commissioned by Brent Council as part of Simon’s laureateship. As Brent’s Poet Laureate, Simon has been raising the profile of poetry in Brent, engaging new audiences and running free writing workshops in order to offer other local residents a chance to express themselves. 

To better express and share his latest work, Simon created a special film with help from the Mandir. 

The poem itself is appended below. To view the 3-minute film, please click here.

The Poem

Inside the mandir at Neasden temple
each gleaming white pillar is a spotlight of silence.
I read that inner peace brings you in to contact
with your true divine nature. See the intricate infinity
of patterns in the domed roof above. Silence
1.water, toilet roll, milk, bread. 2. Put a wash on.
3. Make a plan for the week – factor in time to be spontaneous.
4. Book advance train tickets for Thursday 12th.
I read that Ganesh is the remover of obstacles.
Smile at his one tusked elephants’ head and round belly.
Feel my bare feet warm on the marble floor. Silence
5. Adam’s email about the invoices. 6. Make space
once everything is done to chill out. Stop.
It is rare to see Ganesh dance. And yet up close
this shiny stone column is carved with such music
that he does. In eight different ways
First on tip toes, with knees bent, trunk swung to one side
As two hands of four beat drums, two carve sky palms wide
trunk grips a trumpet, as left heel kicks high
bells ring, shakers shake, horns blow
Ganesh’s father Shiva was the cosmic dancer.
The rhythm of the shapes that he threw
destroyed a weary universe, clearing the way
for the process of creation, and this silence
is its own dance, the ripples
spreading out into the space between. 

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